George Galanopuolos | Credit: Isa Mapengo

Uganda’s Silverbacks suffered a heartbreaking 88-86 defeat to South Sudan in the last Group D game at the FIBA Afrobasket 2021.

The Silverbacks played not-so-good defense especially in the first half of the game that turned out to be South Sudan’s first win (on the court) at their debut AfroBasket.

Head coach George Galanopoulos was not shy to point out where the issue with his team was during the Sunday night match-up at Kigali Arena.

“It’s a little disappointing [to lose to South Sudan] in a sense that you always want to win but I was proud of the efforts specifically in the second half.

“I think the key to the game was our inability to figure out our pick and roll defense and the offensive in the first half. I thought we did a better job in the second half, I think we limited them to 3 offensive rebounds after they had 14 and I think we had 12 ourselves as opposed to 2 in the first half so I’m super proud of the effort that our guys gave.

“Every time they step on the floor, they are resilient, they get after it together, they respond to adversity well. I couldn’t be proud of this team,” Galanopoulos said.

George Galanopoulos draws up a play for his team during a timeout Credit: FIBA

The loss meant Uganda will now face Nigeria in the qualification for the quarterfinals and Galanopoulos says the team will bounce back.

“At the end of the day, we are not done. You know we got more games and we are going back to look at the film just like we did after the loss to Senegal.

“We are going to see where we can improve [because] it is going to be blatantly obvious on the film and every time this team is faced with adversity, every time we have had a loss we try to get better from it.

“I have never been confident in a group to learn from this and get better than this group.”

Galanopoulos admits Nigeria is a tough opponent but insists Silverbacks will respond in the battle for a place in the last eight of the tournament.

“Thankfully, we are not finished. We are going to follow the same process that we always do. We are not satisfied, we understand we have to get better and we will go on court and get better.

“This team will respond because that’s just what they do and that’s their DNA and I’m excited to see where we can take this thing but the reality is we got a very tough opponent, we got a very worthy opponent.”

Uganda plays Nigeria on Tuesday, August 31 at 4:00pm (EAT). The winner of the tie will take on Cape Verde in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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